#NPDTheHague18 – Digital Transformation: Bringing the IoT Promise to Life

Wienke Giezeman is on a mission to provide the entire world with a free and open Internet of Things data network, and at Neutral Peering Days he will be explaining how taking an open and collaborative approach to the problem is already accelerating digital transformation round the world. 

Solving Problems that Don’t Exist…
There is a lot of nonsense talked about IoT. Why would you need an Internet Connected Refrigerator to tell you what you have? Try opening the door! Want a ‘Wifi-enabled slow cooker’? Really??? Far too often with IoT product there’s no problem being solved, just a solution being pushed!

 …or Building Solutions by Sharing
A few years ago a friend of mine, now my business partner, showed me an antenna that could connect up to 10,000 things at the same time over a range of up to 20 kilometres – a low-cost device that does not need loads of recharging at the sensor end, and uses open access technology.

To work out how to make the best use of this device we went back to the beginning of the internet – how did that work?  1. They created an open language to connect all their local networks together and 2. They invested in the infrastructure at their end to the point that it could meet up.

We started with Amsterdam. We created a common protocol, then sought out businesses in Amsterdam that would buy an antenna.  To show what we could do we set up a pilot monitoring project checking which boats were in danger of sinking in the canals. Six weeks later we had ten businesses buying in.

Cities that Solve it Themselves
In a matter of weeks we had created a city-wide mobile network of things. What we had was a model of what cities everywhere can do, so we opened things up to the world. There was a huge amount of interest from other cities from Sydney to Sao Paolo. We shared the protocol, we shared the brand, and it went viral.

A raft of new ideas were generated by our partners in other cities. Like Oxford water height sensors linked to the City administration, or Amersfoort monitoring air quality as a base for campaigning.  Now we have 45,000 members in 90 countries with 4500 gateways. Opening up the technology and sharing it is working! Through our platform and content we are now focussing on helping developers build great products. Organisations are building networks and applications by utilizing the open network and the open tools.

Looking Forward to NPD
I’m very excited to be able to present what we’ve done and talk about the future with fellow network builders at the Neutral Peering Days. The vision of NPD and The Things Network are the same –  we want to build open, collaborative infrastructure and democratize connectivity so that businesses and communities can flourish.

More about Wienke
Wienke Giezeman is the co-founder of The Things Network and a mentor at Rockstart Accelerator. He started his career with KPN but soon after he left the corporate world and founded WappZapp, a video on demand platform providing curated free and paid video. Wienke has been fighting for a free and open internet since he founded Startups for Net Neutrality. Together with a group of people he let the EU Parliament know how important net neutrality is for starting online businesses. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at Tedx. You can watch Wienke present at YouTube and visit the company site.

About the author


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